How to Conquer Your Fears and Move up in Your Career
Multiple times throughout any career, there comes a time to move up into a higher position. This is exciting, but it can also be a frightening experience. Taking on a new position means facing new challenges that you may not be ready for. The new position will come with a host of benefits, but the easier thing to do is to avoid the fear and stay where things are comfortable. Waiting in comfort until you feel safe making the next step is detrimental to your career though. To go far, you need to tackle the frightening things while they're still scary. Being afraid to take that step means that it's a meaningful challenge for you to face. Being afraid to take that step means that it's what you need to do. Deep down, you know that you could do it, but when you begin thinking through the details and the challenges, it can become too much. Better to just not try... That step, however, is the most valuable to your personal growth while it's still scary. Have courage. Press forward. You'll be better for it.
Taking on a new position should be an exciting experience, but it's often stopped before even starting - out of fear. An opportunity presents itself, and, at first, it excites us, but when we begin thinking more about pursuing it, we notice the challenge ahead of us and do nothing instead. This most prevalent fear is the fear of failure. "what if I make a mistake?" "What if I don't do a good job in this new position" "What if I let them down" All the fear of failure. Being afraid of failure will hold you back from taking action. The thing to realise is that you will fail. No matter what. Failure happens all the time, but it's a learning experience. On the other side of failure, you can identify where things went wrong and correct them. Only by learning through failure can you mitigate future failures. Everyone fails. It will be forgotten in the grand scheme of things. The next most prevalent fear to face is the fear of the unknown. Going into a new position, you will realise that there are gaps in your knowledge. For my fellow intellectuals out there, this can be very frightening. Not having the mental tools or framework to combat an issue or challenge is scary. When you don't know how best to proceed you can be left making bad decisions. Why should you tackle a challenge without the necessary knowledge to succeed? First, as we've covered, failure isn't so bad. Second, learning how to overcome the challenge as you get to it forces you to learn quickly and look for unique solutions. In a short period of time, a task that was stressful at first can become simple. Taking on a new position will force you to pick up the tools you need so that you can solve the problems you'll face. Again, though, it's easier to try and stay comfortably where you are instead of pushing past your comfort zone. Going outside of your comfort zone will present you with new challenges that you may not be ready to face. This is a good thing. Having a wider comfort zone makes you much more versatile in your work. The new experiences you face will additionally grant you new ideas and insights that you can use in the future. Seeing an issue from a different perspective could help shed some light on it. Learning something relevant to a new position may spark a connection to another topic that solidifies your understanding of both. By overcoming your fears, you will gain confidence in the face of failure and an increasing knowledge base. After witnessing this, you could make the connection that fear is a good thing that leads to growth. This re-framing is key to conquering your fear. It's easier to retreat to where you're comfortable, but by pushing through and facing your fears, you come out with a host of benefits.
To conquer fear and reap the rewards, you have to re-frame the fear in your mind. As we've covered already, fear can leave us paralysed if we try and avoid the discomfort it brings. Yet, if you face the fear and get on the other side of it, you benefit from the experience. The fears can be seen as a compass that will guide you to what you need to be focusing your efforts on. If it's not scary, then it's not worth doing. The fear of failure is combated by recognising that you will fail. Know that it's not the end of the world. Own up to your failure and learn from it so that it doesn't happen again. Failure then becomes a learning opportunity, allowing you to grow your skill set. The fear of the unknown - being afraid of an experience because you don't know exactly what you're getting yourself into - is overcome by meeting the fear head-on. After you dive in head-first, you will quickly become acclimated to the temperature of the water. You realise you'll be fine. In fact, you're better for having faced your fear. You learn and adapt to the new normal. Don't just dip your toes in... Dive in and face your fears head-on. By recognising the benefits to facing your fears, they can become a little exciting. Realising you're afraid of something provides a new challenge and a new opportunity for growth. Face your fears head-on instead of staying where things are comfortable for you. Forcing yourself to adapt will only benefit you in the long run. The short-term stress is worthwhile. Overcoming your fears will help you to improve and go far in life.
Everyone faces their own fears. They will hold you back if you let them. They keep you from doing what you really want. By conquering your fears, you will grow and acquire new skills and tools. Your new skills will compound and help you progress even further in your career towards your goals. Re-frame fear in your mind and use it as a compass to point you towards where you should be focusing your efforts. By conquering your fears, you will continually be improving yourself. By conquering your fears you will achieve great things.